Winner of “Cake & Courtship” by Mark Brownlow

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Hello ladies and gents, I do apologise for getting to you a bit later than expected. However, here you have the result of the randomiser to get the winner of Mark Brownlow’s giveaway. I have used

Remember that you have the option to choose from some delicious Viennese chocolates or a copy of Cake & Courtship, that is very juicy as well.


Thanks again to Mark for being with us and for the giveaway he is offering.

Without much ado, congratulations to Erika M Messer!! Erika, please email me your choice of prize and your address to pass to Mark at

Erika, you have five days to answer, in case Erika does not email me in that time, I will choose another winner. So, if you know Erika, let her know!




Blog Tour of “Cake & Courtship” by Mark Brownlow, author interview + giveaway

I am always very glad and happy to introduce a new author on My Vices and Weaknesses but I am even happier because I had the chance to have a hot chocolate with him (no cake this time) and have a chat about his writing, his books and life!

Welcome, Mark Brownlow to My Vices and Weaknesses and thank you for bringing Cake and Courtship: Mr Bennet’s Memoirs Book One with you.

Here you have Mark’s biography, you may read things that you may not expect and that is always nice and refreshing:

Mark Brownlow is a British-born writer living in Vienna, Austria. His debut novel, Cake and Courtship, is a Regency romance narrated by Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Bennet. He has also written a novella, The Lovesick Maid, c&c authora cozy mystery set in Jane Austen’s fictional village of Hunsford. You can find Mark at, where he is known for his reimagining of classic literature as emails.

Science degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Aberdeen and Reading prefaced a short-lived career as a research academic. Since turning from facts to fiction, Mark has also worked as a translator, agony aunt, marketing consultant, journalist, business writer, web publisher and copywriter. None of which kept his soul happy in the way that creative writing does. When not writing, he works as a part-time lecturer in medical and scientific English at a local university.

If there is no pen to hand, he can be found watching his kids play football or sharing a glass of wine with his wife in front of a costume or historical drama.

You can follow Mark and his work on various places: website       Goodreads      Twitter       Facebook  Mark’s author page at    Mark’s author page at

Before reading his interview, please let me present you Cake and Courtship: Mr Bennet’s memoirs book one, a book that I believe you would love, it is very witty and “very Mr Bennet” and after reading the interview, you can easily imagine why it may be so good: Mr Bennet with his way of speaking and Mr Brownlow with his own way… Let’s start with some quotes from a few reviews on Amazon:

“An uplifting, amusing and oh so tender read!” (5-star review at

The course of true love doesn’t run smooth in this sweet, witty ramble with Mr. Bennet(5-star review at

There is so much wit, humour and likeability. I laughed out loud many, many times(5-star review at

Interested now? Keep reading the blurb and a bit more of information about the book:

When John Barton falls in love with the elusive Anne Hayter, there is only one man he can turn to for advice. Unfortunately, that man is Mr Bennet of Longbourn, a world-weary gentleman with five daughters pursuing their own marital ambitions.

To help John, Mr Bennet must emerge from his beloved library and face the challenges of the tearoom and dance floor one more time. In doing so, he finds his own romantic past catching up with him.

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Mark Brownlow takes you on an Austenesque journey full of wry humour and Regency romance (with a few slices of sponge cake).

As you get older, Lizzy, you will discover that life does not
bow easily 
to the wishes of even the most romantic of souls.
Quite the opposite. 
Life must be mastered with pragmatism
and sense, which explains why so few people succeed at it.

If you are already so intrigued as I was, you could buy the book on any of these links:

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE
eBook: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE

Kobo | iBooks | Nook / B&N

Without more preamble, here we have Mark Brownlow, author of Cake and Courtship answering some questions that you may not expect. Well, you may not expect the answer… watch out JAFF! 😉

Hi, Mark and welcome.

Hi, Ana, and thanks for having me as a guest on My Vices and Weaknesses!

How did you get involved in writing JAFF?

Obliquely. My wife and I watch a lot of costume and historical drama, and I always enjoyed the Austen adaptations on television. Then I found myself wondering how much of the dialogue came from the scriptwriters and how much from the books, so picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice. I was astonished – and I mean ASTONISHED – to find that, for example, all the humour was lifted straight from the page. That’s how I discovered Jane Austen the writer.

I always wanted to write fiction, so the combination with the Austenesque world seemed a natural fit, especially as I was already writing snippets of literary humour in the same genre for a web project.

Do you have any special writing rituals?

Not as such. While working as a business writer, with constant deadlines, I was forced to be flexible – to write when and where necessary. So I’m equally comfortable with a pen or keyboard, on the sofa or in a coffee house. Having said that, my dream has always been to write like the Colin Firth character in Love Actually – rent a villa somewhere in the south of Europe and hammer away. Though I’d make copies (and do my own washing up).

I do try and write in the mornings, when the day is fresh and full of promise.

Are there any challenges being a male writer in this genre?

If there are, they’re more internal than external. I’ve never encountered anything other than warmth from the community of readers and writers. And there are other male writers already way more established than me. All of them, actually!

By internal, I mean, for example, that I’d hesitate to write from a first-person perspective with a female protagonist, of which there are obviously one or two in Jane Austen’s works! Not because I think writers should always stick to their gender, but simply because I’m not sure I’d do a good job of it. My new novella has Charlotte Collins as the “heroine” of the story. That’s written from a third-person perspective, which I think Charlotte would be relieved about.

It’s sometimes “interesting” when shifting worlds. My other lives are spent teaching scientists or at the football. I’m not sure all my friends here in Vienna have quite got their head around what I do.

Is there much awareness of the world of Jane Austen in Vienna?

Not much. Austria, of course, has classic authors of its own and the Regency period isn’t such a defined era here, for obvious reasons. A kind of equivalent in terms of interest is the long reign of Emperor Franz Joseph in the second half of the 19th century. There’s a particular fascination with his wife, Empress Elisabeth, who was a rather complex and tragic figure.

You’re not Austrian yourself?

I am now, but I was British until about six months ago. I grew up in Wiltshire, not far from Bath, and moved here in 1994.

Let’s turn to your book: it retells Pride and Prejudice from Mr Bennet’s perspective, but he’s not the first name that springs to mind when you think of the original.

No, he’s not. But his humour and cynicism make him an attractive narrator for a writer, especially when you take him out of his comfort zone and force him to swap his books for balls and bonnets.

Jane Austen leaves his backstory largely open, so there’s a fresh canvas to paint on there, too. Plus, he’s about the nearest Pride and Prejudice has to me in terms of age, gender and character, which makes writing from a first-person perspective a little easier. With my calves, I can’t do Mr Darcy.

I’m glad you mentioned Mr Darcy. He’s talked about in your novel, but he never makes an appearance. Why’s that?

Hah! Because I am more foolish than Mr Collins. When I began writing the novel, I didn’t have much experience of Austenesque fiction. So I assumed people would be tired of reading about the Elizabeth-Darcy story. You have permission to laugh at my ignorance.

But it’s also because, from Mr Bennet’s perspective, Mr Darcy doesn’t play that big a role at first: “Cake and Courtship” ends before Lizzy goes to Hunsford.

Although we see Pride and Prejudice through Mr Bennet’s eyes, there’s a separate story going on, too, with new characters. How did that come about?

I wanted to do something fresh with Mr Bennet, rather than just repeat the original plot. He wasn’t going to leave his library without good reason. It’s the story of John Barton and Anne Hayter that forces him into the unusual position of playing cupid and the unwanted position of facing up to his own past.

If the novel ends pre-Hunsford, will there be a sequel?

I’m working on it at the moment. Mr Bennet still needs to cover the second half of Pride and Prejudice. And although the “Cake and Courtship” story comes to a conclusion, there is one issue in the Bennet past that needs resolution. Also, I can put more Darcy in a sequel!

Will there be cake?

As Mr Bennet says, “Life always has more cake. It is one of its few redeeming features.”

Some quick questions to end…favourite Austen book?


Favourite Austen character?

Mr Collins. Surely everyone’s favourite?

1995 or 2005 Pride and Prejudice?

I’m not answering that. I can’t handle conflict, a character trait my kids exploit mercilessly. I will admit to a soft spot for the 2005 proposal scene (ducks).

Favourite cake?

Confession: I’m not a big cake person. But I can handle a nice bit of lemon drizzle cake.

Favourite author (you’re not allowed to say Jane Austen)?

Terry Pratchett. He also had an astonishing knack for creating memorable characters. Incidentally, if you read his novel “Snuff”, you can find a subtle tribute to Jane Austen in there.

Interests outside of writing?

Well, football and, um, football. Though I’m trying to teach myself copperplate calligraphy in a desperate attempt to convince myself that I have “varied interests”.

Thank you very much for your time, Mark.

Thank you, Ana!

What do you think, readers? Did you like his answers? Did you like his style? I had a very nice time talking to him and yes, I was a bit astonished with his idea of maybe people did not like to read more about Elizabeth and Darcy, but it is great that he found out as he will keep writing more and more!

Regarding the issue of not much of the world of Jane Austen in Vienna, and in Austria in general, I think we need to do something about it, we will see!

Check the other stops of this blog tour and you will find so much more great info about the book, about the characters and about the author. Find the links to all the blogs below the picture:

c&c blog tour

28th February Diary of an Eccentric – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
1st March Half Agony, Half Hope – review, excerpt
2nd March Austenesque Reviews – interview with Mr Bennet, giveaway
3rd March Babblings of a Bookworm – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
4th March Laughing with Lizzie – Mr Bennet’s inbox, giveaway
5th March From Pemberley to Milton – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
6th March My Vices and Weaknesses – author interview, giveaway
7th March More Agreeably Engaged – guest post, excerpt, giveaway
8th March So little time…so much to read – Mr Bennet’s diary, giveaway
10th March Just Jane 1813 – guest post, excerpt, giveaway

Time To Give Away

Mark is giving away different prizes on this blog tour. The winners can choose either a paperback copy of Cake and Courtship: Mr. Bennet’s Memoirs Book One OR a box of Viennese chocolates (super yummy, I can tell you for sure). One prize per winner and it is an international giveaway. You can comment, share your opinions and/or questions until the 12th March 23:59 CET.

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Blog Tour of “The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn” by Don Jacobson, author interview + giveaway + extra

The Bennet Wardrobe series is just something else. Don Jacobson has created a superb series involving one of our favourite novels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and time travelling. What is most, his writing is awesome and what ideas he has!!

Today he is introducing The Exile: The Countess visits Longbourn.

If you have been following My Vices and Weaknesses for some time now, you may have read my review of The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque in which I could not praise more Don’s way of developing the characters, I simply loved it and that together with really good stories… what else can you ask?

[FYI – This post is going to be a bit long but I promise that it is worth it to read it all.]

For the ones who may be new to the blog or maybe new to this author, let me (re)introduce you to Don Jacobson:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe SeriesThe Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, novel that grew from two earlier novellas. The Exile is the second volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series.  Other JAFF P&P Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” and “The Maid and The Footman.”

Don Jacobson Head Shot

 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization and Research Writing.

He is a member of JASNA-Puget Sound.  Likewise, Don is a member of the Austen Authors collective (see the internet, Facebook and Twitter).

He lives in the Seattle, WA area with his wife and co-author, Pam, a woman Ms. Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize, and their rather assertive four-and-twenty pound cat, Bear.  Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the JAFF world, Don also enjoys cooking; dining out, fine wine and well-aged scotch whiskey.  

His other passion is cycling.  Most days from April through October will find him “putting in the miles” around the Seattle area (yes there are hills).  He has ridden several “centuries” (100 mile days).  Don is especially proud that he successfully completed the AIDS Ride—Midwest (500 miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride (300 miles from Traverse City, MI to Brooklyn, MI).

If you would like to follow his work, here you have different ways to do it:

Website                Amazon Author Page            Goodreads Author Page              Twitter

In case you have not come across this series, check the blurb to The Exile: the Countess visits Longbourn:

“I have been shaped by the events of over forty years. The world is a nasty place full of awful persons, Mr. Wickham, and does not get any lighter through complaining or blaming.”

The Countess: An Enigma? A Mystery? Or a young girl all-grown-up?

 Kitty Bennet, the fourth daughter of the Master and Mistress of Longbourn, had spent far too long as the shadow of her youngest sister. The all-knowing Meryton chinwaggers suggested that young Miss Bennet needed education—and quickly.

How right they were…but the type of instruction Kitty Bennet received, and the where/when in which she matriculated was far beyond their ken. For they knew nothing of that remarkable piece of furniture which had been part of the lives of clan Bennet for over 120 years: The Bennet Wardrobe.

Forty-six years from when she left her Papa’s bookroom, the Dowager Countess of Matlock returned to that exact same moment in 1811 to tend to many important pieces of Family business.

In the process, Kitty Fitzwilliam helped her youngest sister find the love she craved with the hero who, as the Duke said, “saved us all.”

wardrobe clock backgrnd.jpg

In the slim possibility that you are not 100% convinced that this book and, therefore, the series is super worth to read, here you have, from my point of view, one of the best Jane Austen Fan Fiction authors that you can read commenting on the series: Joana Starnes.

Who can resist the magic of time-travel? Pages of worldwide history rustle back and forth between Regency grand salons, Napoleonic battlefields and more recent conflicts as, guided by Don Jacobson’s masterful pen, the Bennet sisters grow as people and come into their own. ‘The Countess Visits Longbourn’ is a wonderful new instalment, and we cannot fail to revel in the excellent writing and the abundance of detail as the mysteries of the Wardrobe continue to unfold. This captivating series, that brings together real and much-loved fictional characters from all walks of life, is one to savour, and I will revisit it again and again. – Joana Starnes, author of Miss Darcy’s Companion 

You can buy this book on:   Amazon US       Amazon UK        Amazon DE

Without more ado, enjoy this interview that Don is giving us:

MVAW: Maybe you’ve answered this question a lot of times but some of us would like to read it again… Why Jane Austen? Why writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction?

DJ: Like many, I had been inspired to visit (I had not read the Canon in school) the works of Jane Austen after the 1995 Mini-series. My reading tastes up to that point—and from high school onward—had been firmly in the camp of historical fiction and speculative fiction.

Then in 1997 I began to voraciously absorb the Patrick Cornwell Jack Aubrey Series. Shortly thereafter I discovered the works of Bernard Cornwell, particularly the Richard Sharpe Series. Leaven those two with the alternate history approach of Harry Turltledove and I think I had developed a rather eclectic blend. At the same time I was devouring the “Forsyte Saga,” most of Henry James’ and Edith Wharton’s works along with Somerset Maugham.

T’was not until my daughter gifted me with a Kindle around 2010 that I began dipping my tone into other genres. Kindle Unlimited is a marvelous invention! Austenesque Fiction probably entered my reading diet in 2014.

As I have noted in other venues, I had not considered writing any fiction (although I had been making my living for 40 years as a writer)  until my daughter surprised me with her first novel. That jarred something loose…and after a steady diet of Austen-inspired novels and novellas, my brain tossed up a fragment of a letter written by Caroline Bingley to Jane in 1816. Further mulling led me to reconsider my life-long avoidance of fiction writing.

MVAW: Your main focus is Pride and Prejudice, any specific reason? Are you contemplating the idea of writing variations of other novels by JA?

DJ: I feel that there are more stories to tell, particularly about those thinly sketched characters who rest at the margins of Pride and Prejudice, than Jane Austen needed to relate, focused as she was on the tale of Elizabeth and Darcy.

 Perhaps it is because P&P has been dramatized so many times that it provides more fertile ground for an author seeking to expand the tableau and to build a world within which the characters can realistically reside.

 At this point, deep as I am in the midst of creating the Universe of The Bennet Wardrobe, I am unable to consider other possible variations. However, I have found several authors’ efforts to merge the narrative worlds of the Canonical novels to be intriguing.

MVAW: In the wardrobe series, we have time travelling to different eras. Why time travel? Where do your like/fascination/choice comes from?  How did you come with idea of joining P&P and time travelling?

DJ: In one way, the Regency offers a wonderful, rose-hued world within which to station characters and stories. However, as I was concerned with how Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and Thomas Bennet could overcome the handicaps given them by Austen, I considered arenas in which they could grow and find their destinies without the constraints of their previous narratives. Time travel (as opposed to translation to another world like Burroughs Barsoom or Lewis’ Narnia) offered the opportunity to create a different narrative world that was neither unfamiliar nor unbelievable.

 Thus, Mary’s destiny, shaped as it usually is in Austenesque Fiction by love, was realized not through her own time journey, but that of another. And with that, Mary Bennet was able to find her own path in the early years of the Industrial Revolution. However, Kitty, crushed by her life as the fourth daughter—and, as we learn, other factors—needed to escape all she had known up to 1811 to be able to learn that which she needed to become her best self.

Future volumes of The Bennet Wardrobe will see Lydia learning that the life of a soldier is a hard one indeed. Thomas Bennet needed to shake off his indolence and prove that he was a man worth of the endearment “Papa.” And then there is the reason for the whole cycle. No; that is three books from now. Sorry!

MVAW: So far, I have just read Kitty Bennet and the Belle Epoque and I loved the story but I must say that what made me loved the book even more is your way of giving the personalities of the descendants a part of Darcy/Elizabeth and at the same time a part of their own new personality. How did you plan the way/personality your new characters were having without compromising the plot and the links to the original characters as their ascendants? People may expect to see Darcy and Elizabeth’s personalities again and again…

DJ: I am not trying to be coy here: I will tell you honestly that I do not plan ahead of time to insert personality traits. My writing is very organic. Characters grow as I write. I would hazard that the great lasting power of the Canon is that the personalities sketched by Austen are fairly universal and, thus, recognizable.

The cycle begins with “The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey.” There really are no personality clones from the Canon hiding therein. Most are fairly direct extrapolations of the original core characters. Edward Benton, the man who captures Mary’s heart, was molded in some ways upon Sidney Chambers of the Grantchester novels and television dramatizations.

I did see much of Darcy hiding inside the heart of Henry Fitzwilliam. Like Darcy, his nature had to be shaped by a transformative experience. In “Henry Fitzwilliam’s War,” the young Viscount uses the Wardrobe in 1881 to seek his manhood on the field of glorious combat to set to rights the collapse of the family’s image after his Granduncle had been tarred with the brush that was the failure in Crimea in the 1850s. However, he discovered that, much as his Great Grandmother Lydia often exclaimed, the Wardrobe had a nasty sense of humor. It deposited him in World War I.

 Oddly enough, as “The Exile, Pt. 1” began to take shape, I found much of Lizzy in the soul of Maggie Small. Aline Charigot-Renoir may well have been the Jane of the first part of The Exile. Eleanor Fitzwilliam (Henry’s sister) has the same joie de vivre without the unfortunate aspects of young Lydia Bennet. And Jacques Robard is Colonel Fitzwilliam in the body of a French peasant: fiercely loyal and a man dangerous with whom to trifle.

In Part 2 of “The Exile,” I think that both Darcy and Fitzwilliam would be discomfited to learn that there was more of them in Wickham than previously imagined. And, there is more of the cold steel of the Old General in the frail body of Lady Kate than anyone could countenance.

MVAW: What could you tell us something about the Countess that you may have not said/written in other posts of this blog tour? How changed is this character? How has Kitty matured?

DJ: T’is difficult to consider…but I will try.

Just as Austenesque Fiction writers have long conjectured that Darcy and Elizabeth formed a seamless partnership in love, life, and business, I, too, realized that the Henry/Kitty pairing was the epitome of the “sum of the parts being greater…”

 As Henry was limited by his injuries suffered at Loos in 1915, he could not realize his martial dreams. Plus, as Managing Director of the Bennet Family Trust, the 11th Earl of Matlock take off to fight on the Afghan Frontier or subdue the Boers. Rather, he found his niche in becoming the nation’s “go-to” diplomat in that last decade of peace before World War I. Note that Lady Kate, in “Lizzy Bennet Meets The Countess,” has dictated Henry’s enforced vacation in 1907due to his exertions on behalf of the Empire leading the delegation at the Algeçiras Conference.

 As his wife, the Countess participated in the diplomatic swirl surrounding the great Hague, Berlin, Paris, and London conferences. She was his hostess, fully aware of the importance of her role. The growth in the Kitty/Kate personality came from the confidence she had found as she began to process and understand how the events of the summer of 1800 informed her adolescent life…and how the terrifying trials of 1891 resonated within her heart. The love and support first of Ellie and then Maggie and Aline and then that of Henry shaped her into a Twentieth Century woman, fully confident of her own agency. It is with this power that she returns to 1811 to set in motion events that will, she believes, fulfill the Wardrobe’s mission.

How else could The Countess, all sixty-three years of age, offer her father a cigarette in the latest installment?

MVAW: What are you writing next? Any insights?

DJ: As many of the commenters have noted in the recent blog tour, the Wardrobe is beginning to emerge with its own distinctive personality. Even though it cannot speak, the various Bennets who come into its orbit begin to sense that there is more to this wonderful piece of furniture than simply its service as a doorway, albeit a somewhat intelligent one, to the future. More about this will become apparent.

Other characters will require their own books before we reach the final chapter of the Wardrobe’s Saga. Next up is “The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament.” Lydia’s story will be fully covered in “The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion.”

Don, thank you very much for this interview. I really appreciate all the time that you have spent answering these questions and I believe readers will have enjoyed them as much as I have. I want to also thank Janet as she has put together all the blog tour 🙂

You can buy this book on:   Amazon US       Amazon UK        Amazon DE

Ladies, gents, we are not finished, not even close! We have more!! First, let me remind you the schedule of this blog tour, do not miss very interesting posts about The Exile: The Countess visits Longbourn.

14th February Austenesque Reviews;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

15th February My Jane Austen Book Club;  Guest Post, GA

17th February My Love for Jane Austen;  Character Interview, GA

19th February So little time…  Excerpt, GArsz_the_exile2_blog_tour_banner_vert

20th February Interests of a Jane Austen Girl;  Review, GA

21st February Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post, GA

23rd February More Agreeably Engaged;  Review, Excerpt, GA

24th February Darcyholic Diversions;  Character Interview, GA

26th February From Pemberley to Milton;  Excerpt

28 February Just Jane 1813;  Review, GA

2nd March  Diary of an Eccentric;  Guest Post, Excerpt, GA

3rd March  My Vices and Weaknesses; Author Interview, GA

5th March  Laughing With Lizzie; Guest Post, GA


Have into account that the books of this series are even better if they are read in an specific order:

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

I wrote more, right? Here you have more:

Here is a taste from the Thomas book which was published as Epilogue Two of “The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn.”

This excerpt is © 2018 by Donald P. Jacobson. Reproduction of this excerpt without the expressed written consent of the creator is prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

 Epilogue Two

Longbourn Estate, Hertfordshire, October 28, 1814

Thomas Bennet was an unhappy man. No, his disquiet was not the result of what many Meryton friends would have assumed it to rise from: Mrs. Bennet’s famous nerves. His lady wife had calmed considerably since their eldest daughters had married. And, while Longbourn was quiet with Lizzy and Jane living in Derbyshire and Mary off at Rosings, Lydia, now a married woman for three years, had taken up lodging once again at her ancestral home given that Wickham was still on detached duty, serving with Fitzwilliam and the Duke in Vienna. Thomas suspected Mary’s hand in that affair—Lizzy and Jane were too involved in their Derbyshire lives as mothers and wives. Thus, Mrs. Bennet would always have company in the parlor or whenever the desire to shop moved her to declare that mission to Meryton was in order.

Bennet’s discontent rose from something else in his wife’s nature: her maternal feelings. Frances Lorinda Bennet missed their fourth daughter, Kitty, gone now nearly three years. Thomas had leaned upon his lord of the manor excuse of having sent the youngster to seminary in Cornwall far too long. Mrs. Bennet had been complaining that she was quite put out that Kitty never wrote and never visited. More recently, she had begun hinting that, since she had seen the sights of Derbyshire and the Lake District in the last year, she might find a lengthy visit to the south and west to be to her liking. Bennet had come into his bookroom more than once to find his wife curled up in Kitty’s chair, her slippers propped up on Lizzy’s stool, a book on Salisbury Cathedral or the Great Stone Circle or Weymouth in her lap.

Then she would pierce his heart with those sky-blue, nearly purple, eyes of hers and repeat her desire to travel in that direction…with the possibility of seeing Kitty hanging in the air between them.

And, while he had been content to ridicule the mother of his children for more than a decade after that horrible summer in the Year Zero, Bennet had himself changed much over the past three years. He had found her present nature to remind him of the bright, vivacious woman who had entranced him back in ’90.

If I had to do it all over again, I think I still would drop to a knee and beg for her hand. But, I would treat her differently. She is a sweet rose who needs a man to cherish her. Having watched how Darcy and Bingley love my girls…and from what Lydia has told me of her newly-reformed Wickham…I would spend less time in my bookroom and much more in her company.

Thomas Bennet was discovering just how ardently he loved his wife.

And, as such, he was loath to continue to deceive her.

Bennet had thought long and hard about the Kitty situation and how to address it with his wife. He cast his thoughts back to when Kitty, as the Countess, had visited with him after the weddings in 1811. They had never touched on her mother, but Kitty did leave him with the impression that she missed Mrs. Bennet.

Kitty had also revealed that the Wardrobe had been kept under considerable security since her journey ended in 1886.

The germ of a plan began to form in the fertile and capacious mind of Thomas Bennet. Only a modest deception, combined with some laudanum, would put Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in the presence of their daughter.

What Bennet did not take into account was what Lydia later always asserted…except that she had yet to utter it for the first time…The Wardrobe has a nasty sense of humor.


“Fanny, love, would you care to take tea with me in the library?” the Master of Longbourn gallantly asked.

Mrs. Bennet’s head snapped around, her greying blonde hair tucked away under her work-a-day lace topper. Her husband had frequently sat with her in the parlor over tea and cakes…more often now than in any time since they were first wed. But, he had never asked her to join him in that male preserve of his—one that was traditionally barred to any distaff members of the family, although Fanny Bennet had been taking liberties in recent months. She had avoided any effort to inspire him to impose organization upon the chaos that was Longbourn’s book room. She secretly harbored some jealousy that he was comfortable in the library’s disarray where she could never have abided such clutter if it had found its way to her private sitting room.

However, she would not hesitate at this invitation. No, indeed, as it was a rare example of complete gentility on the part of her casual husband.

Perhaps watching Darcy involve himself at Pemberley or Darcy House has left an impression on Thomas Michael Bennet!

Mrs. Bennet calmly placed her needlework in her sewing basket, smoothed her skirts, and rose from her chair. She virtually floated across the room to meet him at the doorway, halting to take his arm to be guided across Longbourn’s entry hall into the library.

Which was spotless!

Bennet’s usual book shelving system was wall-to-wall. Now, however, every tome was stowed with as much care as if the librarians at the Bodleian had been employed for weeks! The dark stained shelves glowed from all of the elbow grease applied by Mrs. Hill and her maids. The fireplace’s andirons shined under new blacking and a cheerful fire spluttered behind a gleaming brass screen.

Mrs. Bennet’s newest tea service, a gift from the Darcys, sat on the low table between the two leather upholstered wingback chairs.

She looked around the room, admiring a large portion of her home she had rarely seen. Everything could not have been more on point. Her heart swelled at the respect her husband was showing her.

One might think Tom Bennet was wooing me all over again!

Guiding her over to the chair nearest to, but with its back also to, his wardrobe, Bennet gently handed her down to the seat.

“Now, Mrs. Bennet, Fanny, you must allow me to serve you today. Then we can talk of some travel plans about which I have been hoping to gain your advice,” Bennet said.

Intrigued, the lady asked, “Travel plans, Thomas? Are you suggesting that we are going to Salisbury? To Bodmin? To see Kitty?”

She fairly bounced in her seat, her excitement turning her from a mature pillar of Meryton’s society into a young lady barely out. She calmed when her husband handed her a cup of tea. In her enthusiasm, she had not noticed Mr. Bennet carefully adding several drops of clear liquid to the brew as he prepared hers.

Bennet replied, “I am hoping to include Kitty in our itinerary for I am certain she would thoroughly enjoy seeing you. However, Mrs. Bennet, I must remind you to keep your emotions under the strictest regulation.

“Act with her as if you are having dinner at Matlock House. In fact, that must be the image you carry in your mind.”

As they continued to converse, Bennet subtly tried to prepare her for what was to come. Mrs. Bennet shortly began to complain about a sudden onset of weariness. Her husband continued to divert her attention that might otherwise have led her to ascend to her rooms for a restorative nap. Eventually, the woman’s chin dropped to her fichu, and she began to snore lightly.

Mr. Bennet waited a full five minutes to allow Morpheus to fully envelope Mrs. Bennet in his grasp.

Rising, Bennet scooped her up.

She is still a slip of a woman. All I need to do is look at her to know how my girls will appear when they are her age. Thank goodness she does not tend to stoutness like Lady Lucas or Mrs. Goulding. Fanny Bennet is one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance!

Stepping around the furniture occupying his path to the Wardrobe, Bennet carried his burden until they were in front of the cabinet. Holding one arm around her middle, he set her feet on the floor, her face nestled into his cravat. He pulled out a long linen sling he had previously hidden in his waistcoat. Draping it over his head and then hers, he maneuvered her unresponsive arms through the opening until her upper body was suspended in tight proximity to his own.

He murmured, “Forgive me, Fanny, for the unladylike manner you are being supported. If I knew a better way, I would have used it.”

Bennet closed his eyes and chased every thought from his mind. Then he scribed in bright letters across the tabula rasa:[i]

Kitty. I want to see my daughter.  

Thomas Bennet, the Founder, planted his hands on the Wardrobe’s front.

A thousand bees buzzed…and the pressure built until…


Matlock House, London, July 13, 1947

Lord Thomas Fitzwilliam, the 12th Earl of Matlock, crossed and uncrossed his legs as he waited impatiently for that which he knew was ordained to happen.

He knew that which he knew because of a Founder’s Letter written in a shaky hand that had been delivered to him by a uniformed messenger from the Trust Offices in Lincoln’s Inn. The writer had neglected to be terribly specific about the time of arrival: he only indicated “in the afternoon.”

I could have dealt with any of a number of issues over at the “Circus” if I had only known the actual when of the where/when.

He reached over to the table next to his chair and lifted a burning cigar to his lips taking a long, exaggerated drag. His eyes never left the Wardrobe where it rested, immobile, across the chamber from him. Nearby was what the writer of the Founder’s Letter had quaintly referred to as a ‘Bath Chair;’ or in modern parlance, a wheel chair.

More minutes passed. The H. Upmann continued to burn, filling the room with an aromatic haze.

With no preamble, a loud thump inside the Wardrobe broke the silence.

The double doors popped open.

Two persons—a man supporting an apparently comatose woman—both wearing garb Matlock had last seen in the Victoria and Albert collection wavered in the entrance. Quickly placing the cigar in the ashtray, the Earl moved across the room, cursing his fifty-two year old knees for their arthritic complaining. He collected the woman from the sling around the other man’s neck and lowered her into the chair.

The gentleman stepped away from the Wardrobe and smoothed his waistcoat with both hands as he looked at the man who had most recently handled his wife with all the propriety the situation could afford.

It is as if I am looking in the mirror after Hill has administered my morning shave. This fellow could be my twin! Except for his steel-grey eyes!

Lord Thomas was experiencing the exact same emotions.

Except, he recognized the man before him, he of the hazel eyes—Bennet Eyes—from the painting that still dominated the Board Room at the Trust.

Throwing position and status to the wind, Thomas Fitzwilliam blurted, “Hello, Grandfather. Will Grandmother require any medical assistance?”

Thomas Bennet smiled and replied, “No, son, she is just under the influence a sleeping agent. I am experienced in administering my wife’s tonics. As such, I imagine she will awaken in an hour or so. Perhaps you could find a bedchamber where she might be made more comfortable?

“So you must be Kitty’s oldest and my namesake, Thomas. Looking at the thinning thatch atop your pate, I would imagine that the Wardrobe has carried us further than I had planned. Certainly I would have enjoyed bouncing you on my knee rather than sharing a brandy with you. But, there is no profit to be had questioning the Wardrobe.

“However, that said, could you fetch my daughter? I would wish to greet her.”

Fitzwilliam’s face fell at his grandfather’s request.

“Oh, Grandfather. We lost Mama over three years ago. You are too late!”

[i] Literally “blank slate.” Used by John Locke in his seminal Treatise on Human Understanding (1690) to describe the infant mind.

(silly note, I really like that Vienna is mentioned, I am actually on the train towards that lovely city)

Time to Give Away

This post is coming to its end but I am sure that everything was a good read, right? Now it is time to give away and Don Jacobson is giving away during this blog tour 10 ebooks copies and 2 paperbacks. A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook or Paperback of The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn by Don Jacobson. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

Giveaway – The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn

Terms and conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.


Blog Tour of “A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity” by Amy D’Orazio, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am going to reintroduce you to an author who has already shared some lovely moments with us before: Amy D’Orazio. Thank you very much Amy for stopping by again with another lovely book.

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.ADOrazio Author Image

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Follow Amy on all these places to be always the first one knowing how her writing is going:

Amy D’Orazio’s Facebook Page

Amy D’Orazio at Meryton Press

Amy D’Orazio Goodreads Author Page

Twitter:  @AllAbtAusten

Amy has a new book that you cannot miss: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. I am going to let Amy’s words to give you a feeling of what you may expect:

Good morning, Ana. Thank you for inviting me to your blog, My Vices and Weaknesses, to share this excerpt from my newest release, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. This excerpt is from a scene between Darcy and Elizabeth while they share a private moment in the Netherfield’s library. I hope your readers enjoy this excerpt as much as I loved writing!


It had been a pleasant surprise to discover Bingley’s library was now far better stocked than on his first visit to Netherfield. He had even discovered several volumes that he owned but had not yet had time to read. Such was the volume he had begun that afternoon, and he eagerly anticipated losing himself in its pages once again.

He strode through the dark halls intent on his mission and entered the library within minutes, eager to retrieve the tome he hoped would help him pass the next solitary hours.

Elizabeth had the same notion, or so he surmised when he found her standing in front of the bookshelves. She startled upon seeing him and nearly dropped the lamp she held.

“I beg your pardon,” he said, bowing stiffly.

“No, I…” She bobbed awkwardly then looked around her, as if hoping the bookshelves might give her some indication of what to say.

Thankfully, his book was immediately apparent on a small side table near a comfortable blue chair where he had whiled away the afternoon. “My book.” He gestured at it.

“Oh.” She picked it up and took a step forward to hand it to him. Alas, her diffidence caused her to misjudge, and instead of landing in his hand, the book fell to the floor with a thud that startled them both.

“Oh!” She exclaimed again. “Forgive me, I…”

She bent to retrieve it. By unfortunate coincidence, he did likewise, and their heads collided. Both straightened immediately, each raising a hand to rub the spot where they had struck one another and babbling apologies. Elizabeth was quick to bend again and retrieve the tome where it still lay.

He took it and thanked her. “Is your head—?”

“I am well,” she assured him. “Yours?”

“A trifling bump.” He hesitated a moment then extended his hand to her.

Her eyebrows flew up for a moment until she arranged herself into a more sedate countenance. Her hand—pale, trembling, and small—came slowly to rest upon his. In a manner most natural, their hands moulded to one another, but he pushed that thought away, leading her to the sofa and sitting down next to her.

For a short while, he did not speak, staring down at the rug beneath their feet. He felt her eyes upon him, no doubt baffled by this alteration in his demeanour towards her.

“I thank you for your apology…before…in the drawing room. I did not receive it graciously, and I should have.” In a quieter tone, he added, “You know me too well to believe that I am well. I am not—not yet. I was ungenerous, and I am sorry.”

“You need not apologise to me,” she murmured.

He took a deep breath. “I shall be leaving in the morning and—”

“What? Leaving?” She interrupted him quickly. “Why are you leaving?”

He did not answer, and she pressed him. “Because of me?”

Because I am a helpless moth drawn to your flame, and I fear I shall be incinerated.

He did not reply but rose from the settee and walked a few paces before turning back to look at her.

“It is hard,” he began. “Very hard…” He stopped speaking, unable to clearly say what he wished her to know.

“To pretend there is nothing between us,” she said when the silence had drawn too long.


“Pray, do not leave on my account.” She lowered her head and clasped her hands together, her fingers busily twisting among each other. “Your friend has missed you, and my sister is pleased to have you among her party. I shall go; I must go.”

She was an ethereal beauty sitting there, illuminated by the small dim lamp. She seemed so sorrowful with her head lowered. Everything within him revolted against seeing her thusly—she should be in sunshine with laughter dancing in her eyes—and he was struck by the need to fix the situation, to fix whatever ailed her.

“Elizabeth, I cannot ask you to leave your sister’s house.”

“I am offering to leave; indeed, I must, for I am needed at Longbourn.”

He wanted to stay; indeed, he wanted it a great deal. Was he a fool? Should he be leaving her as fast as his horse would take him?

But no. She would go to Longbourn, and he would be at Netherfield. Perhaps in smaller doses, he would learn to be unaffected by her.

“Very well,” he said quietly. “I shall stay.”

He helped her to rise, and when she stood, he did not drop her hand. They looked at each other for some time until he finally bowed over her hand, allowing himself one brief graze of his lips against her bare fingers before she left him.


Whaaaaat???? What have we just read? What is going on between them? There are in given names status… Elizabeth. Is he a fool? Why so nice and so… even tender? Amy, have you no consideration for my nerves??

Dear readers, after trying to calm down, just below you can read the blurb that may answer some of these questions. You may then be able to breath in and out without palpitations 😉


Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?

Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him. 

But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given. 

More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept. 

When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?

So, are you going to buy it now? Here you can do it:

Amazon US    Amazon UK   Amazon DE


Blog Tour Schedule

You can follow many many more post about this great book and maybe you will find a bit more about this bittersweet scene that Amy has shared today with us.

21st February More Agreeably Engaged / Book Review & Giveaway

22nd February From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway

23rd February Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post & GiveawayASPoEF Blog Tour Banner 2

24th February My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

25th February My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette & Giveaway

26th February Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway

27th February Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

28th February Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

1st March So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

2nd March Of Pens and Pages / Book Review & Giveaway

3rd March Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview

4th March Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

5th March Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post & Giveaway

6th March Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway


Time to Give Away

Amy D’Orazio and Meryton Press are giving away 8 copies to 8 different winners. The giveaway finishes a couple of day after the end of the blog tour, March the 8th . Check the terms and conditions below.

Rafflecopter – A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity

Terms and conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

Blog Tour of “The Sweetest Ruin” by Amy George, review + giveaway

Book description of The Sweetest Ruin by Amy George to give you a clue of what I may be writing about.


Amy George

Let me introduce you to the author of this book set in Las Vegas 🙂

“Amy George is a middle-aged woman who got rid of her old lady/grown up and has since purchased an unreasonably small car. She refuses to listen to its radio at a Amy George Author Photoreasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a small town in the Midwest where the bookstore and yarn shop are neighbors and most food is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.

She has been writing since she was a child and ran the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.”

Fun fact: My birthday is January 30th so this is like a big birthday party.

Contact and follow Amy on:

Facebook Page

Goodreads Author Page

Amy George at Meryton Press

Twitter: @authoramygeorge


A few hours since you meet a gorgeous English man when you are working in one of the best casinos in Las Vegas and… you wake up to a crazy marriage to him. What should you do? Firstly be surprise (duh!) but then both of you talk about it and give it a chance.

Yes, give it a chance! If we would have been talking about other protagonists, it could be a bit weird but we are talking about Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy, so they are entitled to meet and start their relationship any way they want 🙂

They admit their supermegahyper chemistry since the first minute they saw each other, he is not a serial killer and she is not a gold digger, so at least they have a good beginning.

While in Las Vegas, they have a honeymoon for a couple of days and then her reality, as university student and waitress shows up but everything is fine and they keep knowing each other and falling for each other. However not everything is bliss and fireworks (trust me, there are a lot of fireworks between these two *wink wink*). Even if they are happy, friends and family from both sides may not be so happy about it and some problems must be faced: especially from the other side of the ocean. Let’s say that William’s little sister is not very enthusiastic about his brother’s impetuous and unexpected marriage.

Mr and Mrs Darcy face any problem coming along together but when a few months later they go to London to meet his family and also settle there, life gets much more complicated… extremely more complicated, particularly for Mrs Elizabeth Darcy. However, her love for her husband and also in a way her past and friends-family are key on her new role.

We could say that in this case Jane Bingley is not as sweet as we know her to be in the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We can read about characters with names from P&P but there are some “swaps” between personalities, although we always have ¨Cousin Richard¨!

A short novel that it is very easy to read and with some twists that are really nice, who are the family-friends that Elizabeth has? What complications apart from Georgiana they may have? Is Darcy always to be there? How is Elizabeth Bennet on her “role” of Elizabeth Darcy?

4out5 stars

Why not to buy this book as soon as possible? Or maybe you just wait for the giveaway (check it below) and if you are not one of the lucky winners, you can always go to:

Amazon US                             Amazon UK                           Amazon DE

Blog Tour Schedule

Do not miss the chance to discover more about Amy and her steamy book, follow other stops of the blog. Here you have the schedule:

January 29   Austenesque Reviews; Guest Post, Giveaway

January 30   My Jane Austen Book Club; Excerpt Post, Giveaway01CBD977-7F24-4F1E-8D3C-C56B0D24F8D5

January 31   Of Pens and Pages; Book Review, Giveaway

February 1  More Agreeably Engaged; Guest Post, Giveaway

February 2  Babblings of a Bookworm; Excerpt Post, Giveaway

February 3  My Vices and Weaknesses; Book Review, Giveaway

February 4  My Love for Jane Austen; Character Interview, Giveaway

February 5  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

February 6  Margie’s Must Reads; Book Review, Giveaway

February 7  From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt Post

February 8  Savvy Verse and Wit; Book Review and Giveaway

February 9  Just Jane 1813; Guest Post, Giveaway

Time to Give Away

Amy is kindle offering on her blog tour 8 ebook copies of her The Sweetest Ruin to eight different winners. Click the link below and double check the terms and conditions as well to know how to get more points:

Rafflecopter – ¨The Sweetest Ruin¨ by Amy George

Terms and Conditions of the Giveaway:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

Blog Tour + Author interview – “Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen” by Deborah Hopkinson

Hello to all! I am delighted to introduce you to Deborah Hopkinson, author and speaker. She has just published and tomorrow it will be available: Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, a book about Jane Austen’s life illustrated by Qin Leng and aimed for children.

Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of 50 books for young readers including picture books, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction. At schools and conferences she helps bring history and research alive.

Deborah received a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She lives near Portland, OR. Her husband, Andy, is a winemaker and artist; her son, Dimitri, is a photographer and landscaper; her daughter, Rebekah, is a teacher and chalk artist, and her grandson, Oliver, is an extraordinary one year old! And her two research assistants are Brooklyn and Rue (her dogs)!

I have been lucky enough to read Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen and really like the easiness to explain so many things about Jane Austen in a picture book. The designs are delightful as well, the colours very beautiful indeed.

Moreover, I got to interview Deborah and I have also asked her about JAFF. Read below and if you have any other questions for her, leave them on the comments. Thank you, Deborah for being so nice.

When did you discover Jane Austen?

It’s hard to remember when I first read Pride and Prejudice, but I think I was only twelve or thirteen. I recall having old, battered paperback editions on my bookshelf in high school.

Why did you choose her life for this book aimed to children?

While Jane Austen may not be an obvious subject for a picture book, there are many aspects of her life and work that I think can be appealing to kids. While we live in a celebrity culture, Austen first published her works anonymously. She lived an ordinary life which was centered around her family. For students, Jane is a great role model. She began writing at a young age and also spent a lot of time revising her writing.

I think it’s also helpful for students to be exposed to major figures of the past. And the back matter of our book includes the titles of Jane’s novels and a bit about them.

What is the most interesting aspect of Jane Austen’s life for you and why?

The more I learned of Austen’s life and approach to her work, the more impressed I am with her genius. It’s quite incredible to think that her novels, penned two hundred years ago in an entirely different time, are still so fresh, witty, and pertinent today. I am also amazed at her craft. As someone who makes full use of features like “cut and paste,” it’s mind-boggling to think of what it took to create her polished works.

Jane Austen has several well-known novels that you explain concisely in Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, which one is your favourite if you could only read one of them for the rest of your life?

While I love all the Austen novels, my top three favourites are Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. And if I have to choose just one, I guess it would have to be Pride and Prejudice.

A lot of the readers of my blog love Jane Austen Fan Fiction, have you thought on doing a variation or retelling of Jane Austen’s books for young people?

There are so many fun variations of Austen, both in novels and film. My favorite variation is a literary novel by Jo Baker entitled Longbourn. Highly recommended! I don’t know that I would do a Young Adult retelling, but I do admit that I’m drawn to this period.

You have other books about other authors, anyone else in mind?

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen is nonfiction, but I have also written a historical fiction picture book about Charles Dickens entitled A Boy Called Dickens. I’ve made attempts at writing about other authors, including Charlotte Bronte or Lady Murasaki, the Japanese noblewoman who wrote one of the first (if not the first) novels in the world, but haven’t been successful. As I tell students at author visits, even published writers get rejections. (At least I do!)

Have you ever thought on writing about other artists, for instance Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci or Frida Kahlo among others?

Well, I just bought my husband the fabulous new biography of Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, and I am next to read it, so you never know!

Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing. For other stops on the Jane Austen Blog Tour please check Be sure to use this hashtag: #JaneAustenBlogTour.

jane austen

If you want to buy this lovely book, find some links below:

Amazon UK (available on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day) Amazon US

Follow Deborah Hopkinson on:

Twitter Instagram Website

Blog Tour of “All the Things I know” by Audrey Ryan: character interview + giveaway

Dear all,

would you like to celebrate with me and a bit of pink wine? We are celebrating the first book of Audrey Ryan: All the Things I know. A very nice modern variation of our beloved Pride and Prejudice. Resultado de imagen de pink wine

Let’s then know a bit more about her: Audrey Ryan.


Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream. When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.

You can follow her and her work on:

Audrey’s Goodreads is just as a reader, but it’s here:

Here you have the blurb of the book, enjoy!

Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.

What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?

All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.

I have enjoyed the book very much and I recommend it as it is a read that I could not leave until I finished it. You will see a Lizzie with more fears than you may have seen before but with the same wit. Darcy is still aloof and very protective with the ones he loves. They really need to work on their conversational skills and they eventually do it after a lot of… steam!

The family relationship is surprising, Mr and Mrs Venetidis are not exactly what you expect but it is well written and all the feelings are well explained. Some names are changed but not many, however, I do not like the character who is called Colin! Andrea, why??? 😉 I don’t mind if it’s closer to the surname! :p

I will review the book as soon as I get a bit of time, until then: buy it and read it or try the giveaway and then you read it.

You can buy it on:

Amazon Kindle US       Amazon Kindle UK    Amazon Paperback UK

Now, what you were waiting for… the character interview.

For this character interview, I thought I would jump into Darcy’s head and fill in his version of the Proust Questionnaire. Lizzie’s version of the same Questionnaire was shared on Babblings of a Bookworm earlier in the blog tour. It is also featured in a scene early on in All the Things I Know — an excerpt of that scene was shared on My Jane Austen Book Club. Enjoy!

– What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Taking care of the people I love

– What is your greatest fear?


– What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I wish I was better in large social gatherings

– What is the trait you most deplore in others?


– Which living person do you most admire?

Is it cliche to say President Obama?

– What is your greatest extravagance?

My car. No one needs a brand new Tesla, but I love mine.

– What is your current state of mind?


– What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


– On what occasion do you lie?

Very rarely. I hate disguise. I would only ever omit the truth out of necessity instead of telling an outright lie.

– What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I haven’t really thought about it, honestly. I’m not really a self-conscious person.

– Which living person do you most despise?

I have very complicated feelings about this question. Can I pass?

– What is the quality you most like in a man?


– What is the quality you most like in a woman?


– Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I’ve been told I overuse “um”s

– What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family. I wish I would have cherished my parents more while they were still around. My mom’s art is my haven in that sense.

– When and where were you happiest?

Quiet summer vacations with my family at my grandparents’ lake house when my parents were still alive and Georgie was young.

– Which talent would you most like to have?

Telepathy. Does that count?

– If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I were more sociable

– What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Continuing to build on my mom’s art collection. I feel like I could almost have my own museum at this point.

– If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

An evergreen someplace peaceful like Mount Rainier

– Where would you most like to live?

I think one day I would like to move back into the house I grew up in, but not till I’m ready to start a family. I think about it a lot though.

– What is your most treasured possession?

My mom’s art

– What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


– What is your favorite occupation?

Running along the Burke-Gilman as the sun rises

– What is your most marked characteristic?

Probably my height (I’m 6’3).

– Who are your favorite writers?

Jack Keuroic

– Who is your hero of fiction?

Atticus Finch

– Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford)

– Who are your heroes in real life?

My dad will always be my hero

– What are your favorite names?

I like the idea of naming kids after family members, like my parents George and Anne.

– What is it that you most dislike?


– What is your greatest regret?

See the answer to the living person I despise.

– How would you like to die?

I haven’t thought about it. I suppose peacefully and not alone.

– What is your motto?

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein

So? Do we understand him a bit better?  Maybe… but he is Darcy!!

Blog Tour schedule

Follow the book tour if you are not doing it already because you have great entries. Below you have the schedule:

03 Dec   Austenesque Reviews;   Author Interview, Giveaway

04 Dec  My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

05 Dec   Babblings of a Bookworm; Character Interview, GiveawayCEF18BFF-8DBC-4374-9E41-BFDEC5BF50A7

06 Dec   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

07 Dec   Night Owl Reader;  Review, Excerpt

08 Dec   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

09 Dec   My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway

10 Dec  Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

11 Dec  Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

12 Dec  Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

13 Dec  Savvy Verse and Wit; Guest Post, Giveaway  

14 Dec My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway

15 Dec  Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

16 Dec  More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway

It finishes on the 16th December, what a day!!


Time to Give Away

Andrea is giving away several ebooks during the whole blog tour. In order to participate click the link below. Do not forget to read the terms and conditions to be able to get one of this ebooks of All the Things I Know.

Rafflecopter – Giveaway Link

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.